Open Letter to the President

Committee for Peace and Security in the
Gulf

1615 L Street, N.W.
Suite 900
Washington, DC 20036

19 February 1998

Dear Mr. President,

Many of us were involved in organizing the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf in
1990
to support President Bush’s policy of expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Seven years later,
Saddam Hussein is still in power in Baghdad. And despite his defeat in the Gulf War, continuing
sanctions, and the determined effort of UN inspectors to fetter out and destroy his weapons of
mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has been able to develop biological and chemical munitions.
To underscore the threat posed by these deadly devices, the Secretaries of State and Defense have
said that these weapons could be used against our own people. And you have said that this issue
is about “the challenges of the 21st Century.”

Iraq’s position is unacceptable. While Iraq is not unique in possessing these weapons, it is the
only country which has used them — not just against its enemies, but its own people as well. We
must assume that Saddam is prepared to use them again. This poses a danger to our friends, our
allies, and to our nation.

It is clear that this danger cannot be eliminated as long as our objective is simply
“containment,”
and the means of achieving it are limited to sanctions and exhortations. As the crisis of recent
weeks has demonstrated, these static policies are bound to erode, opening the way to Saddam’s
eventual return to a position of power and influence in the region. Only a determined program to
change the regime in Baghdad will bring the Iraqi crisis to a satisfactory conclusion.

For years, the United States has tried to remove Saddam by encouraging coups and internal
conspiracies. These attempts have all failed. Saddam is more wily, brutal and conspiratorial than
any likely conspiracy the United States might mobilize against him. Saddam must be
overpowered; he will not be brought down by a coup d’etat. But Saddam has an Achilles’ heel:
lacking popular support, he rules by terror. The same brutality which makes it unlikely that any
coups or conspiracies can succeed, makes him hated by his own people and the rank and file of his
military. Iraq today is ripe for a broad-based insurrection. We must exploit this opportunity.

Saddam’s long record of treaty violations, deception, and violence shows that diplomacy and
arms
control will not constrain him. In the absence of a broader strategy, even extensive air strikes
would be ineffective in dealing with Saddam and eliminating the threat his regime poses. We
believe that the problem is not only the specifics of Saddam’s actions, but the continued existence
of the regime itself.

What is needed now is a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down
Saddam
and his regime. It will not be easy — and the course of action we favor is not without its problems
and perils. But we believe the vital national interests of our country require the United States to:

  • Recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the
    Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq.
  • Restore and enhance the safe haven in northern Iraq to allow the provisional government
    to extend its authority there and establish a zone in southern Iraq from which Saddam’s
    ground forces would also be excluded.
  • Lift sanctions in liberated areas. Sanctions are instruments of war against Saddam’s
    regime, but they should be quickly lifted on those who have freed themselves from it.
    Also, the oil resources and products of the liberated areas should help fund the provisional
    government’s insurrection and humanitarian relief for the people of liberated Iraq.
  • Release frozen Iraqi assets — which amount to $1.6 billion in the United States and Britain
    alone — to the control of the provisional government to fund its insurrection. This could
    be done gradually and so long as the provisional government continues to promote a
    democratic Iraq.
  • Facilitate broadcasts from U.S. transmitters immediately and establish a Radio Free
    Iraq.
  • Help expand liberated areas of Iraq by assisting the provisional government’s offensive
    against Saddam Hussein’s regime logistically and through other means.
  • Remove any vestiges of Saddam’s claim to “legitimacy” by, among other things, bringing
    a war crimes indictment against the dictator and his lieutenants and challenging Saddam’s
    credentials to fill the Iraqi seat at the United Nations.
  • Launch a systematic air campaign against the pillars of his power — the Republican Guard
    divisions which prop him up and the military infrastructure that sustains him.
  • Position U.S. ground force equipment in the region so that, as a last resort, we have the
    capacity to protect and assist the anti-Saddam forces in the northern and southern parts of
    Iraq.

Once you make it unambiguously clear that we are serious about eliminating the threat posed
by
Saddam, and are not just engaged in tactical bombing attacks unrelated to a larger strategy
designed to topple the regime, we believe that such countries as Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi
Arabia, whose cooperation would be important for the implementation of this strategy, will give
us the political and logistical support to succeed.

In the present climate in Washington, some may misunderstand and misinterpret strong
American
action against Iraq as having ulterior political motives. We believe, on the contrary, that strong
American action against Saddam is overwhelmingly in the national interest, that it must be
supported, and that it must succeed. Saddam must not become the beneficiary of an American
domestic political controversy.

We are confident that were you to launch an initiative along these line, the Congress and the
country would see it as a timely and justifiable response to Iraq’s continued intransigence. We
urge you to provide the leadership necessary to save ourselves and the world from the scourge of
Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to relinquish.

Sincerely,

Hon. Stephen Solarz
Former Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. House of Representatives

Hon. Richard Perle
Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute;
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

Hon. Elliot Abrams
President, Ethics & Public Policy Center;
Former Assistant Secretary of State

Richard V. Allen
Former National Security Advisor

Hon. Richard Armitage
President, Armitage Associates, L.C.;
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

Jeffrey T. Bergner
President, Bergner, Bockorny, Clough & Brain;
Former Staff Director, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Hon. John Bolton
Senior Vice President, American Enterprise Institute;
Former Assistant Secretary of State

Stephen Bryen
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Hon. Richard Burt
Chairman, IEP Advisors, Inc.;
Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany;
Former Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs

Hon. Frank Carlucci
Former Secretary of Defense

Hon. Judge William Clark
Former National Security Advisor

Paula J. Dobriansky
Vice President, Director of Washington Office, Council on Foreign Relations;
Former Member, National Security Council

Doug Feith
Managing Attorney, Feith & Zell P.C.;
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy

Frank Gaffney
Director, Center for Security Policy;
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces

Jeffrey Gedmin
Executive Director, New Atlantic Initiative;
Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Hon. Fred C. Ikle
Former Undersecretary of Defense

Robert Kagan
Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Zalmay M. Khalilzad
Director, Strategy and Doctrine, RAND Corporation

Sven F. Kraemer
Former Director of Arms Control, National Security Council

William Kristol
Editor, The Weekly Standard

Michael Ledeen
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute;
Former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State

Bernard Lewis
Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Ottoman Studies, Princeton University

R. Admiral Frederick L. Lewis
U.S. Navy, Retired

Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch
U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

Hon. Robert C. McFarlane
Former National Security Advisor

Joshua Muravchik
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Robert A. Pastor
Former Special Assistant to President Carter for Inter-American Affairs

Martin Peretz
Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic

Roger Robinson
Former Senior Director of International Economic Affairs, National Security Council

Peter Rodman
Director of National Security Programs, Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom;
Former Director, Policy Planning Staff, U.S. Department of State

Hon. Peter Rosenblatt
Former Ambassador to the Trust Territories of the Pacific

Hon. Donald Rumsfeld
Former Secretary of Defense

Gary Schmitt
Executive Director, Project for the New American Century;
Former Executive Director, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

Max Singer
President, The Potomac Organization;
Former President, The Hudson Institute

Hon. Helmut Sonnenfeldt
Guest Scholar, The Brookings Institution;
Former Counsellor, U.S. Department of State

Hon. Caspar Weinberger
Former Secretary of Defense

Leon Wienseltier
Literary Editor, The New Republic

Hon. Paul Wolfowitz
Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS;
Former Undersecretary of Defense

David Wurmser
Director, Middle East Program, AEI;
Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Dov S. Zakheim
Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense

Organization affiliations given for identification
purposes only. Views reflected in the letter are endorsed by the
individual, not the institution.

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